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Overall Rating
4.61

Awesome73.79%
Worth A Look: 15.17%
Just Average: 9.66%
Pretty Crappy: 0.69%
Sucks: 0.69%

6 reviews, 109 user ratings


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Ed Wood
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by Paulapalooza

"Is it a coincidence that Burton's best films feature characters named Ed?"
5 stars

Tim Burton is a visual stylist with few peers in today's Hollywood---and when you realize that most studio films are exercises in set decoration with wispy-thin characters who won't leave any footprints on the mahogany floors, that's saying a hell of a lot.

It's also no revelation that director Tim Burton's films, while looking exquisite, of ten lack a spiritual, human center, as if Burton could never draw a soul into his immaculate production sketches. Whether this is his fault, the fault of his collaborators, or the fault of actors trying to match up to matte paintings, no one can say, but I have some ideas.

Burton has, in his career, made two fully-realized, fully-formed films. First is EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, a delightful little parable about a guy with giant scissors for hands which we won't concern ourselves with now. The second is the immaculately entertaining biopic of loser producer/director/writer/actor ED WOOD, easily his best and most accomplished film from stem to stern.

So why does ED WOOD, the film that marks the travails both personal and professional of the most insipid auteur to ever wield a camera, work so well? Burton, usually celebrating his characters' visual stylings from a distance, is in this case forced to take Wood, an actual human man and not a demon or a monster, apart and rebuild him to make him better, stronger, faster. Getting his hands dirty on Wood's personal tragedies and triumphs, learning to identify with his subject, makes Burton the genius heralded by his believers for years. The viewer can tell that Wood's story makes Burton laugh, makes him cry, makes him aspire, and that passion makes the audience feel those things as well.

Another dose of credit must go to one of the most chemical screen pairings of the 90's---Johnny Depp as Wood and Martin Landau as the pathetially aged shell once known as Bela Lugosi. There's argument that Sam Jackson deserved an Oscar for PULP FICTION, and in any other year I'd agree, but Landau has the best role of his distinguised career here. He unflinchingly stares Lugosi's ego, his loneliness, his addictions, square in the face and shows us the complex man beneath the Dracula cape.

Not enough praise can go to Depp, either, for treating Wood with respect and turning him into a hero. Sure, he's screwed up, sure, he likes to wear angora sweaters, sure, he's clueless, but Wood may have been the most driven-to-succeed filmmaker in the history of the medium. The picture we're left with is an honest, caring guy who gave his friends shots at stardom, supported the people who supported him, and was only hampered by a genuine lack of talent. His scenes with Landau are celluloid TNT, probing the nature of need and the complexities of friendship, honor, and commitment. In that respect, it's a love story of surprising depth.

As usual, Burton has a field day with his supporting players, too. Of special note is Bill Murray as the sex change-craving Bunny Breckenridge, who gets off a series of hilarious one-liners and bon mots. Also great are Jeffrey Jones, Lisa Marie, Juliet Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, and making a fantastic impression as Wood's hero Orson Welles in one brief scene, Vincent D'Onofrio.

Howard Shore fills in admirably and excellently for longtime Burton maestro Danny Elfman and Stefan Czapsky's beautiful black and white photography makes this film, though less flashy than most of Burton's creations, one of his most aesthetically pronounced. Frequent biopic scribes Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski deliver the nuanced screenplay that lets Burton finally realize ALL his potential as a director for the ages.

Wood himself never made a film near this good, ironically enough. But his charm, his grace, was that he always believed he was creating the grandest screen spectacle yet. For Burton, ED WOOD is, if not a spectacle, an enduring piece of work that'll be around just as long as PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. And that's a good thing.

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originally posted: 06/02/00 13:54:15
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User Comments

4/26/10 PAUL SHORTT RICH, WARM AND FUNNY 4 stars
12/28/09 Dane Youssef A unique movie about a unique man by an even more unique man. Ed Wood deserves an Oscar. 5 stars
1/25/09 Pamela White quirky look at a quirky man, sad Bella. 3 stars
12/21/08 Samantha Pruitt funny movie, very good looking movie! 4 stars
5/04/08 Nate Haven't you heard of suspension of disbeleif? 5 stars
1/12/08 art it's like one big halloween party 2 stars
4/27/07 Double M Dark yet hilarious. Burton's best. Depp & Murray are great, but Landau is just mesmerizing. 5 stars
4/20/07 Adrian Inspiring in its own quirky Tim Burton kind of way. 5 stars
3/02/07 Vip Ebriega Superb Tim Burton movie. Emotionally excellent. 5 stars
2/22/07 R.W.Welch Funny, oddy affecting story of a man who could not stop making bad movies. B+ 4 stars
11/27/06 Billy Backstabber yep, fun flick. More enjoyable than the films Wood made..more interesting.Great att2detail 5 stars
8/02/06 Nicole Wierd but cool movie. Great preformances 4 stars
6/26/06 Criddic2 Anyone who's seen an Ed Wood movie will enjoy the reenactments; Depp, Landau are Great 5 stars
12/18/05 Bree Brilliant film. Depp looks his best in angora. 5 stars
10/31/05 missjie86 This movie is hysterical... I cannot recommend it enough... SEE IT!! 5 stars
10/16/05 Person It's hilarious and heartfelt. I need to see it a third time. 5 stars
9/04/05 C Vega Suprisingly A good movie that makes you want to see Ed Woods Bad Movies! ha ha ha! 5 stars
8/05/05 Zack Excellent biography! 5 stars
4/17/05 Abbath Very niche movie for a niche director. 4 stars
4/14/05 Veronika Boyd "Karloff is a cock-sucker!" 5 stars
4/12/05 Indrid Cold Very well done, but not incredibly entertaining. 4 stars
2/16/05 SAKURAZUKAMORI fdwnfgsdafgdsfgd 5 stars
2/15/05 Wilt Chamberlin . 5 stars
2/07/05 deep in Depp not bad at all, boring in places, good in others 4 stars
10/25/04 Tom Ciorciari Burton's best film by far; it wasn't even nomintaed the year Forest Gump won! 5 stars
10/21/04 Daniel burton's best-ed wood wasn't the crappiest director, and this homage does him justice 5 stars
8/19/04 DM You'd never in a million years expect to like a biography of the worst director of all time 5 stars
7/06/04 EricDSnider Burton+Depp=wonderful 5 stars
6/19/04 Daveman A quirky, lovable biopic of an artistic outsider. 5 stars
6/10/04 T. Maj Tim Burton's best film--nice cinematography 4 stars
5/18/04 gray no bad but not great 3 stars
5/02/04 David Fowler Landau literally IS Lugosi. One of the most TRULLY deserved Oscars ever given. Brilliant. 5 stars
3/21/04 Tito Fantastic! Classic Burton, all the way, 5 stars
3/20/04 Peter I loved this movie and can watch it over and over 5 stars
3/14/04 DeppFan4Ever Great film! Johnny Depp & Tim Burton always make the best movies 5 stars
3/05/04 Andrew Dunn Johnny Depp is the king. Plain and simple. 5 stars
3/03/04 jdogg touching and wonderful-and didn't show wood's descent into porno. 5 stars
3/03/04 Jack Bourbon Well, if you think you may like it, you'll probably love it. Wacky stuff. 5 stars
3/03/04 Jack Sommersby A bit rambling, but it's mammothly entertaining and splendidly acted. 4 stars
3/02/04 y2mckay one of Burton's best, Landau fantastic, but film loses emotional core when Lugosi dies. 4 stars
2/25/04 Kyle Come on everyone, REVIEW!!! Push dumbass AJ off the list! GO! GO!!! 5 stars
2/19/04 AJ Bag of Gay Shit 1 stars
2/19/04 MP Bartley Burton's one true masterpiece and Depp's best role 5 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Lavish production values and fun performances all around. 5 stars
12/05/03 ashley goodspeed it was a good movie except for jeffrey jones being in it that sucked, but johnny depp rules 5 stars
12/05/03 Agent Sands Terrific acting and writing, and the black-&-white is very apt. 5 stars
11/29/03 john rates with (or maybe even above) DAY FOR NIGHT as the best movie about movie making ever 5 stars
9/27/03 AD dam this was great 5 stars
9/23/03 JC Very much in the style of Ed Wood actually! Depp, Landau, and Burton are brilliant! 5 stars
7/10/03 eleftheria gooooood 5 stars
6/08/03 earl hoffert burton's very best film, has yet to top it 5 stars
5/15/03 George Jung One of the best films of the 90s, if not ever. 5 stars
5/03/03 sleepy amazing film 5 stars
3/15/03 Maegs Come on, its not THAT good 3 stars
3/06/03 Glenn cool johnny the best 5 stars
2/07/03 mr. Pink Terrific! One of Burton's best films! 5 stars
2/04/03 Silverline Not that great 3 stars
1/31/03 dionwr Okay, low-key effort from Burton 3 stars
1/27/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer A hilarious, dark and moody few hours. 4 stars
11/24/02 Mason Not burtons best work (Pee-Wee!) but honorary enough to be on the top 20 5 stars
11/21/02 Angel This movie is a true gem 5 stars
11/10/02 asina my favorite film.... 5 stars
9/21/02 Morally Sound I love this movie. 5 stars
9/20/02 Buddha It's funny, but it also takes a little liberty with the truth. 3 stars
8/23/02 Naomi A superb, well- crafted film. Depp is great, as always, but Landau's Bela steals the show. 5 stars
8/16/02 Scott Brilliant, very funny film 5 stars
7/30/02 The Little Cock-Smoking Tramp Modern black-and-white cinematography is so beautiful it makes me cry 5 stars
6/23/02 blake i loved it 5 stars
6/02/02 Poumpus and better than you Depp was Hilarious as Ed Wood! 5 stars
5/27/02 gj ty mmmmmmmmmm it was okkkkkkkkkkkk, perhaps a touch too weird 4 stars
5/20/02 siro My all-time favorite film.... 5 stars
4/01/02 lauren mccreight a movie for people who love movies 4 stars
2/24/02 Aiken Drum Every time I even think about this movie I cack myself. 5 stars
2/19/02 Andrew Carden Ok As An Autobiography, but Very Mediorce and Fourth Rate As A Movie. 3 stars
2/18/02 Goombah Landau is masterful, Depp fantastic, but the story is sometimes a little cartoony. 4 stars
1/25/02 Phil Z. Excellent, clever, moving. 5 stars
1/01/02 Foufie Cannot be explained : just watch it ! 5 stars
8/28/01 Gary Very funny and well made. Depp is magnificent. Parker is a great presence here, too. 5 stars
8/08/01 E-Funk The perfect tribute from a master of the craft. Beautiful and flawless. 5 stars
8/01/01 KC Au One of my favorite movies!! Very funny and some scenes were very touching. 5 stars
8/01/01 Michael S. Browne I wish there was a Beyond Fucking Awesome rating. This is the best movie I've ever seen 5 stars
7/26/01 Edgar Delicious, funny, incredible! I'd see it again and again! 5 stars
6/29/01 Monster W. Kung It's not a masterpiece, but the re-creation of Plan 9 is masterful. 4 stars
5/21/01 Ray McCoy An auspicious beginning to the second Burton era. 5 stars
3/27/01 Jesse L Depp is brilliant. Pass the angora sweater. 5 stars
12/15/00 viking The most human of Tim Burton's movies 5 stars
9/06/00 Gray Depp was perfect choice. Beautiful film. Fantastic. 5 stars
7/28/00 Jinx Depp is great, Wood was weird and sympathetically pathetic. Truth is stranger than fiction. 4 stars
6/09/00 Mike Farwell Very well directed, by the one and only TIM BURTON!!! 5 stars
6/03/00 PJ Absolutely beautiful, I absolutely loved it, Depp and Landau were perfect 5 stars
4/03/00 Casper A Burton masterpiece and one in which you'll laugh out loud! What a great movie!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/01/00 perverted pixie Watch this! Watch "Plan 9"! Watch "Glen or Glenda"! They all rule! 5 stars
2/26/00 Judy57 My favorite movie, so lovingly done. 5 stars
1/23/00 Dr. Dolittle A Masterpiece 5 stars
12/06/99 JonnyAngel I only saw it recently, boy was I missing out. 5 stars
9/04/99 Weird Andy Magnificent. 5 stars
6/20/99 Ed Wood I, of course, loved it 5 stars
1/02/99 Charles Dubé Absolutely hillarious and even touching film. Burton's absolute best. **** stars 5 stars
12/14/98 Binky What a great film. Depp and Landau are wonderful. 5 stars
12/05/98 tj oh dear lord this is good 5 stars
11/30/98 Mr.Pink SO BEAUTIFUL AND VERY FUNNY!! 5 stars
11/24/98 DrEvil Touching tribute to a man of skewed vision, whose determination exceeded his talent. 5 stars
11/16/98 little jerry this is a beautifully balanced film.Tender and strange. 5 stars
10/26/98 Silent Rob You can see the love on the screen. 5 stars
10/24/98 Vincent Burton's best film- a treasure that will be remembered 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Anyone who doesn't think this is a fine film is so clearly not thinking straight. 5 stars
9/30/98 {{{OZ}}} Fucking awesome film, especially for b-grade sci-fi freaks. Landau is incredible. 5 stars
9/23/98 Johny Oz is right. Depp and Burton's finest hour. 5 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress i'm sorry, johnny depp didn't sell me on this one. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Sep-1994 (R)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2004

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